Owensville, Ohio (CNN) - In the second of his two campaign appearances Wednesday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan sharpened his critique of President Obama’s handling of the unfolding crises in Egypt and Libya.
“The administration sent mixed signals to those who attacked our embassy in Egypt, and mixed signals to the world,” Ryan told an outdoor crowd in Owensville, Ohio, in the heart of deep red Clermont County. “I want to be clear; it is never too early for the United States to condemn attacks on Americans, on our properties, and to defend our values. That’s what leadership is all about.”
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Ryan, reading off notes, said the administration’s policies “project weakness abroad” and segued to a broader offensive against Obama’s foreign policy record.
“Undercutting allies like Israel, outreach to enemies like Iran, national security leaks and devastating defense cuts,” he said. “A weak America breeds insecurity and chaos around the world. The best guarantee of peace is American strength. And peace through strength will be the Romney/Ryan foreign policy of this country.”
Those were tougher words than the ones he delivered in Green Bay earlier in the day, when he referenced the president indirectly.
“It’s important that a president speak with a singular voice representing our principles and our values. We don't want people around the world wondering what our values are,” he said in Wisconsin.
Ryan’s GOP ticket mate, presidential nominee Mitt Romney, harshly criticized the president for not taking a harder line against the mobs that attacked the diplomatic missions in Cairo and Benghazi. In Libya, the violence left four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.
Other Republicans have been reluctant to embrace Romney’s line of attack – and some in the party have even chided Romney for using such heated language against the commander-in-chief in a moment of crisis.
But Ryan’s tough talk Wednesday is yet another sign that the campaign is not backing down from its blunt message.
Ryan was speaking on an outdoor stage surrounded by American flags and nearly 3,000 supporters who showed up to see Romney’s running mate campaign in southwest Ohio – and catch a free concert by country singer John Michael Montgomery.
That’s more than double the number of people who came to see Romney campaign in northeast Ohio on Monday.
Ryan was introduced by the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich, who touted the state’s job gains since 2009 and exclaimed: “Ohio is rocking!”
Kasich also had some words of praise for the political spouses who came to the rally-the wives of Kasich, Ryan and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. He extolled their domestic skills.
“You know, Jane Portman, Karen Kasich, and Janna Ryan, they operate an awful lot of the time in the shadows,” he said. “It’s not easy to be a spouse of an elected official. You know, they’re at home, doing the laundry and doing so many things while we’re up here on the stage getting applause, right? They don’t often share in it. And it is hard for the spouse to hear the criticism and to put up with the travel schedule and to have to be at home taking care of the kids. And where is the politician? Out on the road.”